Vice-president at Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Paul Tyler is responsible for strategy, branding, public relations–and digital media. He has some thoughts on the value of insurance social media marketing, and here he shares a few of them.
How important is it to Fidelity and Guaranty Life for its independent agents to be active on social media? How does the company encourage agents to be active on social media?
Engagement with clients is absolutely critical in the insurance market. This was true 100 years ago. It’s even truer today in a world where the average individual views 5,000 ads a day. Only strong, authentic, personal engagement can cut through this volume of clutter. Social media, when used properly, is a powerful tool in the hands of a savvy agent.
We curate content on a daily basis for Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ targeting consumers who want to protect their families and plan today for the retirement they deserve in the future. We encourage our agents to follow our accounts and either share or blatant steal our links and push this content to their followers. We’re even happy if they use the content for their emails.
How do you think social media marketing impacts the individual agency?
A recent study found that 50% of consumers looking for insurance turn to social media to research a product. Every agent today should expect that a prospective client will visit their business’s social media accounts and website, as well as the those of the carriers they present as options. Few agents or agencies can afford to ignore these important communication channels. The best ones make active use of theme.
At one of my colleagues’ career-based life insurance carriers, a newly recruited agent qualified for their sales conference in one year based on the strength of their Facebook community. The vast majority, however, still need help translating their personal brand in an online social setting.
What is your top tip for agents using social media?
The advice I give most frequently to independent agents is to invest just 15 minutes a day to Facebook and LinkedIn. The second most frequent piece of advice I give is to be patient.
Presence on any of these platforms first and foremost should build their personal brand. This takes time, consistency, and thought. Too many times, agents expect leads to emerge in a few weeks. They will come, but all in due course. The platform you are building [InsuranceSocial.Media] could help a number of them find it easier to stay the course for the extended period of time required for success.
For your agents, what seems to be the biggest social media marketing challenge?
Changing sales habits – or overcoming inertia – always proves the biggest challenge. Selling insurance is a very difficult business. There are many ways to build a practice, but discovering a successful niche often requires enormous personal effort in the early years. At that point, agents often have very little incentive to deviate from the sales practices that have worked thus far. Success at social media requires a change in daily behavior that will not immediately generate new sales. Agents need to understand the growth opportunities social media opens for them in the future in order to make this type of commitment.
There has never been a more exciting time to be part of this industry. Social media opens the door to more authentic engagement with more clients than ever before. Agents who grasp this opportunity and invest the time necessary to become skilled will be the leaders of the business in the future.